Hong Qiao (SHA) v.s. Pu Dong (PVG) Airport

I read two travel books these days: one on Boston (by Marie Morris) and the other on New York (by National Geographic Society). Both of them offer a section on transportation, like Entering Boston or Gates to New York. It is very helpful and let understand the locations of LGA or JFK.

This experience reminded me that not many people really know the difference between PVG or SHA. Let me explain it.


Here is the typical Jian Shuo Wang style of map:


© Jian Shuo Wang

Wendy rated 7 point out of 10 for this map. I thought she may give a 9. :-(


As you may guess, neither of the airport is located in the downtown.

Hong Qiao Airport (SHA) is much nearer to the city than Pudong Airport (PVG). SHA is on the west of the city and PVG is at the far-east. A20 is the outter ring of the city. SHA is exactly located at west part of the ring while the PVG connects to the A20 via a highway A1. You get the idea, right? Refer to the map.

Hong Qiao Airport (SHA) is older than Pudong Airport (PVG). SHA was the first airport in Shanghai. PVG was built when the expansion of Hong Qiao Airport became impossible when the city grows and surrounds the airport. The equipment of Hong Qiao Airport became old while PVG is brand new.

Hong Qiao Airport is for domestic flights only. Pudong Airport serve both international and domestic flights.

Pu Dong Airport is bigger than Hong Qiao. With the second run way constructed, it aims to be an international aviation hub like Tokyo or Hong Kong.

Pu Dong airport has MagLev connected to the Metro Line #2. There is no Metro or Maglev for SHA.


No Metro (subway) access at both airport.

There are airport buses for both airport, and Airport Bus #1 connects the two airports.

Avis serves at both airports.

How to Choose

Unless you are flying between Shanghai and large cities in China, like Beijing or Guangzhou, you often have no choices. For international flights, the only airport to depart and arrive is PVG. For many small cities, there are only very few flights every week and there is only one possible airport, SHA or PVG.

If you do have choices, you can consider the following factors:

  • Price. The construction fee for both airports are the same (50 RMB for domestic, 90 RMB for international flights and 10 RMB for short distance branch flights), but the transportation from the airport to other places are of big difference. It takes at least 100 RMB to get to downtown from PVG, while the price is about 60 – 90 RMB for SHA.
  • Are you an Airport fan? If you’d like to see a modern and beautiful airport, definitely go to PVG. PVG has great architecture and great facility. Beside that, you can also take a ride of Maglev and experience a train running at 430 km/hour. For business travelers who fly between Shanghai and Beijing so many times a year, they often choose SHA because it is nearer to the city and smaller, which means less money, less time and less walking distance.
  • Arrival time. If you arrive late, SHA may be better since the Maglev closes at 5:30 PM now and you only have two choices to leave the airport – bus or taxi.

41 thoughts on “Hong Qiao (SHA) v.s. Pu Dong (PVG) Airport

  1. a subway connecting Hong Qiao airport and downtown (metro line 2) is scheduled to be in operation early next year. it takes about 40 minutes from the airport to the heart of Shanghai – the People’s Square

  2. The Maglev from PVG does not go downtown, and is more useful as a fun ride than realistic transport. For a business traveller, taxi is the most realistic option from PVG.

    I used both airports this month, since I visited Shanghai PVG on vacation, and flew to Beijing from SHA.

    Cost for a taxi from People’s square is about:

    180RMB to PVG

    80RMB to SHA.

    Yes, PVG is more modern, but SHA is really not bad. I would not mind using either.

  3. I think your maps are well drawn and helpful too. I’d give you at least an 8 ;-) Can I ask what kind of computer and software you use to draw them? Are you using a pen tablet computer? Also, have you already written in your blog about wireless or gps internet access in Shanghai. I am in Seattle and am planning on buying a small computer here before I go to Shanghai in the Spring of next year. Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. I am using the simpliest software – Microsoft Paint that is included in Windows and used my mouse to draw it on a common laptop (D600 of Dell)

    I am always using wireless at office, and at home. My home was covered by wireless for two years.

  5. Question: Why is Hong Qiao Airport called SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT? I is very confusing for travelers from overseas.

  6. The original name of Hong Qiao Airport was Shanghai International Airport. It was the name before Pudong Airport was constructed. Now Hong Qiao is called Shanghai Hong Qiao International Airport, and Pudong is called Shanghai Pudong International Airport. There are many places (websites) that use the old name though.

  7. Comment to bellevue :

    Don’t expect to rent a car in China if you do not have a valid national chinese driver license.

    International driver’s license are of no use in China.

    You have to stay here for more than 1 year, and have a permanent residence card. Then you can apply for a license.

    Weird, isn’t it ?

    Anyway, it’s simply too dangerous to drive here. Forget it.

  8. Thanks carsten. Looks like car rental is for China nationals from provinces, although it’s INTERNATIONAL airport.

    My friends working as expats in Shanghai qualify their rule, but none of them drive. Now I know why :)

  9. Thank you very much for all the info. I’m going to arive to Hong Qiao on December 18th around noon and leaving from Pudong on December 19th early morning. I’m looking for an hotel close to Maglev or to Metro, in order to allow me a quick half a day visit of Shangai city and a quick move to Pudong airport the following morning.

    Do you have any suggestion for good positioned hotel with competitive prices ?

  10. By the way, the airport constructon fees have now been cancelled (or have been built into the air ticket price).

    My experience is that although PVG is further away, the road condition is much more reliable in Pudong so that you are less likely to get unpleasant suprises (such as stuck in the slow-moving traffic) when you go to PVG.

    In my opinion, PVG is the future and SHA will decline as time passes.

  11. first time in shanghai. where is

    Site Name: Shanghai Belling Corporation Limited

    Address: 810 Yi Shan Dr

    City: Shanghai

    State: China

    Zipcode: 200233

    maps aren’t helping me, need some clues

  12. I want to know how long it takes from one airport to another using the shuttle bus #1 and how much does it cost.

    Thank you

  13. Will be my first time in Shanghai

    Will be staying at Jinjiang Hotel Cathay Garden 59 Mao Ming Road Shanghai 200002.

    What is best way to go to Pudong International for my Departure to U.S.A

    Will appreciate your help. Thank you

    Noah de Leon

  14. Your informations are very helpful!

    How long will it take from Pu Dong Airport to Hong Qiao Airport using shuttle bus #1?

    Your help will be appreciated very much, thanks.


  15. Hello,

    I will be arriving at PVG at 2000h on a Sunday evening from the USA and my wife willl be arriving at 0700h the next morning. Is there a safe area where I can sit and wait and maybe sleep, without worrying about all my luggage around me? We are travelling on from there, so going to a hotel would be a bit awkward.

    Thanks for your help,


  16. Hi,

    I have a client that will arrive into PVG at 2pm and is due to fly out of SHA at 6pm. Please can you tell me how long the bus journey will take and is this enough time for him to connect to his next flight?



  17. i will be coming from the shanghai railway station or from shanghai west railway station. Is there a bus from any of the 2 stations that will take me to the Pu Dong Airport? I cant understand chinese characters. What is the best way for me to know if the bus that i will be riding on is the bus that will take me to the Pu Dong airport?

  18. @wilma, unfortunately, there is no direct bus. Since you don’t read Chinese, I don’t suggest you to take buses – you need to transfer for many times. A taxi is generally the solution. It may takes 100 – 200 RMB (or 20 – 30 USD) to get to Pudong airport.

  19. Hello

    Thanks for the information about the airports in Shanghai, it’s great and very useful.

    Could you please confirm how much time is necessary from SHA to reach PVG ?

    Arrival in SHA at 9:30 for a flight in PVG at 12:50, is this correct ?

    Do you suggest bus, taxi ?

    CA4865 Y 12MAR 3 YNTSHA HK1 0800 0920 *1A/E*

    KL 896 M 02APR 3 PVGAMS HK1 1 1250 1830 *1A/E*

    Thanks a lot for your help and prompt answer

    Best regards


  20. Hi, I saw your website and I think you did a really good job answering all the questions!!

    I’m a foreign student currently staying near Zhongshan Park and to get back to my home country, the budget airline departs from Hangzhou Airport.

    Can u please suggest the best way for me to get to Hangzhou Airport from Shanghai?

    Thank you very much!

  21. I would suggest you take train from Shanghai South Railway station. It takes about 2 hours to 2.5 hours, depending the train you choose. That is also the cheapest way if you don’t choose the fancy trains.

  22. Thanks a lot for your prompt reply. Do I have to buy the train tickets in advance if I’m travelling on a Saturday? How many days (min and max) in advance?

    I browsed somewhere that there is a bus from Hongqiao Airport to Hangzhou airport, not too sure how updated that site is. Do u happen to know if the bus still operates?

    Really appreciate your answer!!

  23. Hi, sorry to bother again. I just realised that I’ll have a big and heavy trolley bag to bring along. Would it be very difficult to put on the train?

  24. Hi, My Flight will be arriving in Pvg at 20.10Hrs , but i have a flight to catch at 2300Hrs from SHA, is the time enough, which is the fastest way to get SHA to catch up my connecting flight,Please help.

  25. this is awesome

    i was confused before reading this

    thanks so much !

    im from bermuda ..planning to visit a friend in shanghai in april

    so excited !

    any tips on what to visit there ?

    im very interested in photography and i want to get some good shots

    while there

  26. I’m trying to get to Zhangjiagang City from Pudong Airport. What would be the best and easiest way to get there? I don’t speak Chinese (yet). Thanks!

  27. Hai , i will reaach PVG at 15 :30 and my next domestic flight is from HONGQIAO to QINGDAO

    Kindly tell me what is the Time, distance and easiest way to get frpm PVG to Hongqiao

    I would be very greatful for your advice

  28. How long it takes by BUS #1 from SHA to PVG. How much it costs and how frequently it operates. Thanks.

  29. How long it takes by BUS #1 from SHA to PVG. How much it costs and how frequently it operates?

  30. I need to know the distance from PVG and SHA and also is there a shuttle bus that goes directly from one airpor to the other?

    If so how much will it cost?

    Many thanks for your assistance.

  31. How long it takes by BUS from SHA to PVG. How much it costs and how frequently it operates?

  32. LOL. I can’t believe how many people are still acting as if this blog is their personal travel agency. WTF.

  33. Im arriving to pudong (pvg) airport and want to reach Nanjing University of aeronautic and astronautics in Nanjing. Please advise the best commute to NUAA.


  34. Im arriving to pudong (pvg) airport and want to reach Nanjing University of aeronautic and astronautics in Nanjing. Please advise the best commute to NUAA.


  35. Thanks for your blog – as I was beginning to research flights it really helped to clear things up for me re: the two different airports. Cheers!

  36. Your website is very informative, thank you from a foreigner coming to visit your beautiful country. Reviews can be quite contradictory, so it’s nice to hear your opinions. We will be coming from PVG airport to SHA airport by airport bus. Which terminal does the airport bus drop passengers off at? We will be staying at the Argyle International Hotel and need to arrange a shuttle if it’s terminal 2. Or decide to take a taxi to save us inconveniences. Thank you for your recommendations, and if you wouldn’t mind, is the Argyle a nice hotel?

    Kind Regards!

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